If someone asks me today about the feeling I have always been obsessed with while I was growing up, I’ll simply and perhaps precisely answer that it has been the sensation of love. Every book, whether it is a novel, a play, or an anthology of poems or short stories, is incomplete unless it has elements of love and contains a very strong narrative centered around a lad or a lass who harbors most pristine feelings for the opposite sex. So is the case with movies.
History has been witness that any movie whose plot fails to incorporate the hues of love has hardly been successful at the box office. Therefore, no matter who you are, where you belong in and which creed you are associated with, the feeling of love binds all of us together in our pursuits for the ‘ significant other’. We are all, sometimes, hopelessly and other times, passionately looking for a person who is in sync with our emotions, having the same inclinations as of ours.This feeling is one of those distinguishing things which help human beings stand apart from all other creatures on earth.
John Keats, one of the world’s most widely read and celebrated English poets, goes to such extent in expressing his belief in the feelings of love that he writes in his letter to his beloved Fanny Brawne, “Love is my religion—I could die for that— I could die for you. My Creed is love and you are its only tenet.”
Similar is the picture of Mir Nihal’s son Asghar, who happens to be the central character of Ahmed Ali’s Novel Twilight in Delhi. Though it’s a historical Novel, I have never read it with that perspective. Asghar, a young boy, is head over heels in love with his friend Bundoo’s sister Bilqeece. The family of Bilqeece is lower in rank and therefore Asghar thinks that his father will never consent to this union. While sitting on a roof he sighs like a furnace, imagining Bilqeece to have appeared in one of the stars on the horizon. His friend takes him to his mistress, Mushtari Bai, to divert his attention but to no avail. Even sitting next to her, Asghar’s mind is engrossed in Bilqeece, leaving Mushtari Bai disheartened and heart-broken. Love in the streets of Old Delhi is what overwhelms the readers, implanting a desire in the hearts of especially Lahorites as we find tens of hundreds of Asghars serenading themselves crooning songs of love in Lahore and Delhi alike.
“If her heart has now become soft it matters not;
If the strong one has become weak it matters not.
Granted your red lips are the source of life,
But if they serve not the lover they matter not.”
Ahmed Ali (Sung by Qawals in the Novel, Twilight in Delhi)
Ever since I started reading English literature, I have never intentionally picked any book which is not romantic. When I would read novels imbued with romance sitting in the university, sometimes students from other departments would get curious and ask what I was reading that helped spread a smile on my face. On their insistence when I told them their rejoicing was boundless and they felt as if I had given tongue to their feelings.
As long as people believe in the feeling of love , there exists something one can at least hope to live for. George Sand says, “There’s only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”